Kansas DOT launches survey to explore future transportation funding

The department says motor fuel tax revenues continue to decline

October 18, 2021 / 1 minute read
transportation funding

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) recently launched a statewide survey to learn what Kansans think about how highways and bridges are funded.

The survey is the first step in a Midwest Road Usage Charge (RUC) Study being led by KDOT. Kansas is the first DOT to engage drivers to help design a local RUC pilot, the agency says. The study will focus on identifying how a RUC system that reflects unique Midwestern values and needs could fund transportation investments.

Kansas roads and bridges are funded primarily by motor fuel tax revenues—the taxes paid at the pump. This funding continues to decline with the increased number of electric and hybrid vehicles and as people drive fewer miles. A recent KDOT study indicates by 2045, the state’s transportation system could rely on sales taxes for 60% of revenue, which is not likely to be sustainable.

KDOT says while this is a nationwide issue the discussion to date on how a RUC could work has been primarily led by research on the east and west coasts. KDOT’s RUC Study is the first major pilot to bring a local, Midwest perspective to this important discussion.

“It’s important we bring a Midwest perspective to this national conversation,” Kansas Secretary of Transportation Julie Lorenz said in a statement. “Completing this local study will help KDOT better understand the potential real-world implications of a road usage charge model and help to ensure agricultural and freight industry perspectives—as well as rural drivers—are considered.”

The study is being supported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and coordinated with the Minnesota DOT to expand the pilot’s reach.



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